2021 CDF Proctor Institute Leadership

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Ash-Lee Henderson

Highlander Center for Research and Education

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Co-Executive Director of the Highlander Research and Education Center, is a 36 year old, Affrilachian (Black Appalachian), working class woman, born and raised in Southeast Tennessee. Ash–Lee is the first black woman Executive Director of the Highlander Research & Education Center, a social justice leadership training school and cultural center founded in 1932. Through popular education, language justice, participatory research, cultural work, and intergenerational organizing, they help create spaces — at Highlander and in communities — where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible. Ash–Lee is a long-time activist working against environmental racism in central and southern Appalachia, and has fought for workers rights, racial justice, women and LGBTQUIA+ rights, reproductive justice, international human rights, and led-intergenerational social movements across the South. She serves on the governance council of the Southern Movement Assembly and is a nationally recognized leader in the Movement for Black Lives.